Getty Images disappointed at $1.2m Morel verdict

Last Friday, a jury handed a landmark ruling in one of the industry’s most important legal case, finding that Agence France-Presse and Getty Images had wilfully infringed on Daniel Morel’s copyright after it sourced from Twitter and distributed the photographer’s images of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

The jury awarded Morel $1.2m in damages, putting to an end a 46-month legal battle.


“I think it’s fair to say that we we’re disappointed with the amount,” Getty Images’s general counsel John Lapham now tells BJP in a phone interview. “I also think it’s disappointing that it took three years to get to this point, but Morel had committed himself to achieving a certain degree of notoriety and now that he got it he should enjoy it.”

As BJP reported in 2011, both Agence France-Presse and Getty Images tried to settle the case out-of-court, to no avail.

“At Getty Images, we’re very interested in the proper attribution of all of our images, and we’ve spent the last three years improving our systems and our processes to prevent this type of error from happening again,” says Lapham. “We have a lot of images coming in every single day, and we’ve learned a lot from this case.”

It remains unclear whether Getty Images will appeal the court’s decision. Agence France-Presse has yet to return BJP‘s requests for comment.